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Winders found guilty of stop-go murder

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/09/2016

The man charged with the murder of road worker George Taiaroa has been found guilty by a High Court jury.

Quinton Winders, 45, had denied murdering Mr Taiaroa, who was shot while operating a stop-go sign near Atiamuri, south of Tokoroa, on March 19, 2013.

The jury returned its verdict on Friday, almost five weeks after the trial began in Rotorua.

Winders' family yelled "love you" as he was led away.

Winders will be remanded in custody until November 2 at the High Court in Rotorua.

Justice Toogood has also requested a psychology report, and thanked both families for how they conducted themselves during the trial.

Outside the court Taiaroa family spokeswoman Ani Mikaere said it was important to acknowledge that Mr Taiaroa was a loved husband, father, grandfather and workmate whose legacy would endure.

"His memory is honoured every day," she says.

The court proceedings had lasted a very long five weeks and for the Taiaroa whanau it had been a very long past three-and-a-half years.

Ms Mikaere spoke of the true professionalism the prosecution team had brought to the case saying they had shown humanity and sensitivity to the Taiaroa whanau.

She expressed gratitude to the professionalism of the witnesses many who did not know George but who had come to court out of a sense of obligation to do so.

"Their true generosity of spirit had not been lost on the Taiaroa whanau who are always in their debt," Ms Mikaere says.

She praised victim support and the police who investigated the case.

"The gathering of evidence was a monumental task, the police showed dedication, determination and attention to detail to get this case to trial, a debt of gratitude is owed to them too."

She said the whanau would always be grateful for the overwhelming support they had received in Rotorua often from strangers whose gestures had done a lot help alleviate their burden.

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